Third Annual Jewish-Palestinian Dinner

We are troubled and sad that governments continue to lack the will to enact a just peace   •   We also believe that politicians ultimately follow the people   •   Governments alone cannot move beyond war without us   •   Thus, we will continue our efforts in the “public peace process” that increases face-to-face relationships and changes the hearts and minds of more and more citizens   •   Therefore, we gather together this evening . . .

To re-affirm:
We are neighbors forever and interdependent.
We want the best for each other and will
resolve all conflicts without violence,
beginning with listening.
Working together, we will
build our common future
for the good of both peoples,

Sunday, May 7, 2000   •   5:30 PM
South  City  Steakhouse
101 Brentwood Drive at El Camino
South San Francisco

Arabic & Jewish Music

Featuring The Almarjanah Ensemble with classical, traditional, and modern Arabic music to dance by, and The San Franscisco Klezmer Experience, first created in 1996 for ACT's hit musical, "Shlemiel The First."

Dinner    •    Dancing   •   Dialogue

Premier U.S. exhibit of the "Middle East Peace Quilt"

(See photos of the Quilt at

For more information, please contact:
Maha and Basem Totah: 650-652-9842    •    Libby and Len Traubman: 650-574-8303

Sponsored by the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group of San Mateo County, celebrating 95 meetings and nearly eight years, helping to change strangers into friends, “enemies” into partners, to invigorate the public peace process, here and overseas.

Results of the dinner

      On Sunday, May 7, 2000 around a dining room and dance floor in California, our Third Annual Jewish-Palestinian Dinner helped strengthen our bonds and create new ones. It was the 97th meeting in almost eight years of sustained relationship-building of our dialogue group here on the San Francisco Peninsula.
      Sitting at round dinner tables of 8 were almost equal numbers of Palestinians and Jews. We were women and men, students and elders, long-time colleagues and new acquaintances -- all very interested in building our common future. For your interest, here are a few elements of this fine night.


      The room was bathed in 17 panels of the new "Middle East Peace Quilt" that lined the walls. From the collaboration of 300 Jews and Arabs, it was quilted together by fabric artist Elizabeth Shefrin ( You can see it at:
      On this same Sunday across the continent in Florida, this premier U.S. exhibit of the Middle East Peace Quilt was shared by the award-winning "Israel Expo 2000," where over 10,000 visitors gathered. The vision of one woman, Debbie Herman (, shows the diversity and richness of life in Israel.       A "whole thinker," Herman also wove in exhibits on Ethnic Diversity, Palestinian Culture, and Arabic Language. There was a 9,000 square foot model of The Old City -- beloved by Jews, Muslims, and Christians -- and a large model of The Dome of the Rock. Interestingly, Lakeland is a community of but 130 Jewish families, mostly quite conservative.
      Next, the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco will exhibit the full 30 panels of the Middle East Peace Quilt from May 30 through July, 2000. Amy Tobin ( at the J.C.C.S.F. is the coordinator and is planning a reception with Jewish and Arabic music!


      At the last hour, two senior students from Brandeis University decided to come to the dinner evening. They drove a rental car 400 miles, then made the return trip driving all night back to Los Angeles to catch their plane for the East Coast.
      Michael Bavly (, a Jewish-Israeli, and Forsan Hussein ( ), a Palestinian-Israeli, had been flown to L.A. for the weekend to speak to U.C.L.A. Hillel students who hope to improve strained Jewish-Arab relations there. The campus work is guided by Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller (
      Forsan and Michael also spoke in L.A. to the Jewish Community Relations Committee, whose coordinator and their host, Elaine Albert (, participates in an ongoing Jewish-Muslim Dialogue there. It is convened by Rabbi Allen Freehling ( of University Synagogue. By coincidence, Len was in the first Sunday school classes at the inception of that congregation in the 1940s.
      The presence of Michael and Forsan added much to the dinner. Together, they have done amazing things at Brandeis and beyond. While building their own relationship and major -- Peacebuilding -- they have brought students together, given many talks at other universities and institutions, and are DJs on their music program -- Just Like You -- on the campus radio station, WBRS, where they alternate between Jewish and Arab songs, and promote a new nature of relationship. You can read plenty about them by searching for their names on a good search engine like "Google" or "NorthernLight". There is a definitive story, 'Just Like You’ promotes Arab-Israeli peace, about them at the Brandeis online paper. It is half-way down the page linked to from:


      We Palestinians and Jews danced to the Arabic music of the Saed Muhssin's ( Almarjanah Ensemble and to the Jewish music of the San Francisco Klezmer Experience led by Daniel Hoffman(
      At the end of the evening, they were playing together and for the first time -- and well. It looks like they are a newborn "team" and available for other similar occasions.


      During the evening, our sister East Bay Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue Group announced their important upcoming event here in the San Francisco Bay area.

      WHEN: Saturday, June 17, 2000 -- 8:00 PM
      WHAT: "Arab and Jew: A Dialogue in Music"
      WHO: An evening of exciting music and conversaton with SIMON SHAHEEN, renowned Palestinian string musician and composer, and OHAD BAR-DAVID, Israeli-born cellist and member of the Philadelphia Orchestra
      WHERE: Arts Magnet School Theater, Lincoln Street between Shattuck and Milvia, Berkeley, CA
      BENEFIT FOR: "Open House," the center for Jewish-Arab coexistence in Ramle, Israel
      COST: $20 ($25 at the door)
      CONTACT: Faye and Sandor Straus ( AND Hanan and Rifaat Rasheed (


      Most of what we do is the "business" of the public peace process. But not everything we do.
      Some moments like these are not even "dialogue." They are beyond language. Yet these gatherings are important. They strengthen our friendships and working relationships and often lead us to new, important people. So we recommend to others occasional events like these.

Return to Family Homepage
Return to Main Homepage